The computer art is back.
Perplexing. Leila is five and she draws pictures of keyboards. It’s terrifying. She comes home with fences and princesses, houses and suns too. But it’s this darker, more complex artistic passages that concern me. Space bars. Keyboards.
They may seem arbitrary but they must mean something to her.
I know what keyboards mean to me.
far off places i can think and dream about
second hand books, youtube
recipes for chicken kiev
the mandarin words for please and thank you
social networks by the dozens
aRt / phOtOs / exPReSsion
canada live podcasts (i love you!)
I wonder what keyboards mean to her. It looks like this laptop has cinderella pearls.
Perhaps she thinks they’re friends.
i suppose she would think of:
her cousins on skype. Real.
“printables”. Little Mermaid: Real.
barbie videos: Real.
alphabets that sing and dance: Real.
a life of her own: Real.
The world of the computer must still seem mysterious to her. She is not quite certain what Mitchell and I use our computers for, but she knows that we use them a lot. If you asked her, she might tell you that “Mommy works on her chapters“, as she has seen me on the cusps of my most furious editing deadlines. She has witnessed the creation of spreadsheets to measure student progress, the information on the computer spilling out to file folders collapsed over one another and the keyboard, calculators and pencils strewn about.
Mitch and I wonder how we can appropriately integrate our technologies gently into her life, so that she can see their uses – and not try to keep the the ipods, the iphones, and the bright, flashy moniters away. We want her to be involved. We want her to be smart. But she’s five, and she’s demanding, and she comes with peanut butter toast and popsicle sticks. Icky things that smear and streak.
Eventuaully, we’ll broach the topics of chat rooms and facebook. And the truth is, when I’m 39 and she’s 12, she’ll be blowing me clear out of the water.
She’ll be in lands i don’t recognize, playing games i can’t control.
And the truth is she’ll be happy there, like i was when i first sneaked out of the house, cut that terrible chemistry class and – in first year university – got my first email account: firstname.lastname@example.org, a electronic message board for women following the band, phish. Wait a minute. I think i’m having a breakthrough here.
On second thought, maybe I should embrace the keyboard art. It’s still art, after all.
This one even has a family in it. I like that.
It doesn’t mean she won’t love long walks on the beach, or sunsets, does it? Communication with real people, emotional connectivity? trees, bike rides? spring flowers that finally push through? i want these things to amaze her, not bore her because they’re not “the box”.
Share your experiences with kids and technology ~ please enlighten this discussion!